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How to Make a Nautical Themed Wedding Truly Magical

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Nautical Themed Wedding

A nautical theme for a wedding? Now, that’s a charming choice with truly interesting possibilities! The challenge, though, is how to have wedding decorations and accessories that evoke the sea without being trite and predictable. In other words, how does one make nautical magical?

First, we recommend an understated color palette of ivory, sand, and gold. Leave the loud beach party hues or the snappy blues and reds for the pre-wedding events. Then, we suggest incorporating tasteful references to the sea among the ceremony elements and bridal accessories. For some inspiring ideas, read on!

Begin “With This Ring…”


At the ceremony itself, incorporate stylish references to the sea—like a unique ring pillow in the shape of a seashell or lovely shell trays to hold the rings till just before the vows.

As the wedding party prepares to make its way down the aisle, have the theme be unmistakable yet subtle. For instance, position large conch shells on either side of the aisle alternating with ivory-painted hurricane lamps holding glowing candles. Then, have the precious wedding bands presented in a unique way:

  1. Displayed on a lovely seashell-shaped ring pillow embellished with tiny pearls, shells, and glass beads and finished with a flowing ribbon
  2. Or use charming shell trays filled with beach sand and adorned with swirling seashell fragments.
  3. Use large nautilus shells filled with sand and decorated with pretty ribbons that match the wedding color scheme.
  4. Another option is to use a large preserved starfish to hold the rings. Add elegant flowing ribbons that match your wedding colors. Hint: If you are reluctant to use real starfish, try faux ones.

Proceed With the Loveliest Bridal Accessories


Maintain the refined wedding color palette with ivory-hued floral bouquets, along with a pearl and silver rosary as a special keepsake of the wedding.

Now, the wedding march begins. The adorable flower girl and charming bridesmaids lead the way in the prettiest frocks. Then, all eyes are on the radiant bride! Make the moment picture perfect with:

  1. Monochromatic ivory floral bouquets—gorgeous roses for the bride and sweet stephanotis for the bridesmaids—maintaining the elegant color scheme
  2. A precious pearl and silver rosary held by the bride as a most special accessory
  3. Matching wristlet purses for the ladies in the wedding party, made from ivory-colored textured silk and decorated with a cluster of natural seashells.

For other romantic touches for the beach ceremony, let your bridesmaids carry dainty Japanese parasols for a truly romantic look. In place of bouquets, you can have them carry pomanders decorated with tiny shells.

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Serve Refreshing Drinks in Sea-inspired Style


During the post-ceremony photo shoot, serve the guests welcome drinks in pearl- and shell-embellished glasses.

All too soon, the touching wedding ceremony is over—and it’s picture taking time! As photographers snap away to capture those memorable images of the happy newlyweds, their family, and the wedding entourage, what are the waiting guests to do? Why, enjoy stylish welcome drinks presented in the most unique way, of course!

  • – Serve white wine in slender flutes, glammed up with clusters of pearls on their stems.
  • – Present chilled tropical fruit-infused cocktails in graceful goblets, adorned with eye-catching natural seashells.

Other beverage ideas:

  • – Have bottles of chilled water on hand, or pitchers of iced water with a refreshing tinge of lemon and mint.
  • – You can also serve snow cones made with a citrus-liqueur. Add tiny cocktail umbrellas for a decorative touch.

Then, everyone proceeds to the wedding reception that is awaiting in a romantic tent or marquee as the sun sets for the day.

What a Thrill to Find other Nautical-inspired Ideas on these Blogs!

Nautical themed ideas

Talk about nautical-goes-glam! How fabulous is this towering wedding cake created by The Caketress (found via Elly B Events), featuring edible gold ship-inspired charms, two-toned fondant ruffles, and a fluffy flower topper. The mini-cakes for guests (seen in the full post) are just too cute. We are in awe!

For a stylish centerpiece, we love this creation by the talented Laura Charles of The Wedding Decorator for a wedding in Marbella, Spain. It’s a fishbowl filled with seashells, pebbles, and floating white daisies reflected so enchantingly in a mirrored tray. Simple to assemble, yet such a striking piece!

Another great use of shells is this elegant place setting we discovered on Designs by Gollum. Believe it or not, stylist (and novelist) Michael Lee West put this together to recreate a seaside feel in a mountain setting! Isn’t it charming how the fluted design on the plates mimics the ridges on the seashells?

We found edible seashells, too! Little Muon (via Save the Date for Cupcakes) moulded these nautical treats out of blue-tinted chocolate, then presented them in the cutest aqua and green cupcake liners. You could replicate these in any color to suit your wedding palette!

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18 comments

  1. I love the natural colors of ivory sand and gold. The ring in the sand is such a neat idea.

  2. So many gorgeous ideas. I adore the idea of a nautical wedding! xoxo, chrissy.

  3. Oh I love the rings in the seashells! How perfect for a Florida wedding!

  4. I love this theme! Am having a nautical wedding next summer. Got any ideas for a yellow and blue palette?

  5. Got any ideas for a wedding cake with a nautical theme. Mine is a Cape Cod wedding next summer. THanks.

  6. Hi Sandra. For such a wonderful palette, you can try centerpieces of flowers such as yellow daisies, tulips, or beautiful calla lillies. As for your table linens, a muted shade of yellow would be nice coupled with some touches of gold, while your napkins can be in navy blue! And give guests some cute lifesaver-shaped cookies! You can also have a pretty wedding cake with a motif of an anchor and boat.

    Hello Lulu! We found this really chic wedding cake from Bobbette and Belle. Go here.

    Be sure to check out this great inspiration board from the Wedding Decorator. Go here.

  7. Help! I am planning a nautical bridal shower and am wondering about some color combos.

  8. Hi, Natasha. I know choosing a color palette can get really overwhelming with all the possibilities out there. But if you’re thinking along a cool, snappy look but with a twist, here’s a great inspiration board from The Perfect Palette.

    http://www.theperfectpaletteblog.com/2010/07/seaside-wedding-palette-of-blue-yellow.html

    Here, the usual red in a nautical setting is substituted with a sunny yellow. We love how cheery it looks! Or you can search through the site’s palette library for other choices. It’s a fabulous collection!

  9. i’m having a nautical wedding too this summer. how can i craft my own candy buffet bar with this theme?

  10. Hey Ladies! I really love the stemware decorations with shells and wire! Tres fabulous!

  11. Hi, HillJo! Thanks for being such a sweet follower of our Bistro — despite the countdown to your wedding. Wishing you all the best!!!

  12. Am swept away by everything nautical lately . . .

  13. Thanks so much, Amy-Jo! And we love following your blog, too. :-)

  14. hello ……i love this wedding favor ….specially because im using gold with off white but the problem is that my wedding is on dic 3 …is gonna be in a banquethall ….do you think that i have to look for other favors…thanks for ur help!

  15. Hi, Xochilt — Not sure if you are referring to the shell trays (shown above) to be given as your wedding favors? If yes, they would be lovely in a wedding with a gold and off-white palette. It’s perfectly all right if your wedding date is in December and the venue is a banquet hall (and not by the sea!). All the best!

  16. Thank you for spreading JOY and sharing at the Oh What a HAPPY Day party.

    Holly at Not Done Growing

  17. Hi Holly! Thank you for hosting Oh What a Happy Day…we’ll surely be linking up more of our projects. :-)

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